"The Monuments Men" may boast an A-list cast that includes George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett, but the film was anything but big budget.
In a new interview with Variety, Clooney — the film's director, co-writer, and star — revealed that majority of the cast took dramatic pay cuts before joining the World War II-era film about a platoon tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves.
"If you pay everybody a full boatload, it's a $150 million film," Clooney told the publication, adding that he still managed to stay under his $70 million budget. "You just can't do it. Everybody worked for super cheap, like crazy cheap."
Clooney compared the pay scale to the "Oceans" franchise:
He says the “Ocean’s Eleven” movies operated under a similar business model, although the actors in the Steven Soderbergh franchise earned roughly a quarter of their normal salary. For “Monuments Men,” they were paid a 10th or a 15th of their going rate, but with a meaningful backend if the movie makes money, Clooney adds.
But Clooney says that a film's budget doesn't really matter, anyhow.
“The problems that you have with a $5 million film are basically the same problems you have with a $70 million one,” Clooney continued. “There are 500 marketing people and money people and insurance people, and you can’t do it without them.”
Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which bankrolled and is distributing "Monuments Men," says that Clooney is "even smarter than you think" and adds that "whenever George comes into the building, he has a fan club."
To read the rest of the interesting Variety interview, click here.
"Monuments Men" opens this Friday to lukewarm reviews.
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